Ben Wheatley and the cast insist that their Rebecca isn’t a remake but a new adaptation of the book. It doesn’t matter because the movie only proves that you should be watching the Hitchcock version.
There’s nice scenery, sun-dappled camerawork, and a good-looking cast. Apart from this, Rebecca (2020) doesn’t offer anything else.
The plot is pretty much the same – a young woman is swept into a whirlwind romance with a rich widower, off her feet and mundane life into a lavish estate and rich living. It’s her hot girl summer in an English McMansion.
The main difference between this version and its predecessor is it’s about a cruel manipulator. While this is a potential angle for a new adaptation, the script doesn’t take it anywhere intriguing or substantial.
The extravagant mansion, gothic atmosphere, ambiguous characters, and crafty storytelling are gone. They’re replaced with a dreary country house, garish colors, cardboard characters, and by-the-numbers mystery.
Rebecca isn’t a lingering presence that follows her replacement through personal accouterments, she’s a room that nobody talks about. The rest of the characters are watered down. Armie Hammer and Lily James have no chemistry. Kristin Scott Thomas keeps one of the most popular villains in cinema memorable at least.
They’re in an unevenly paced plot, which starts as an Instagrammable meet-cute, sags in the middle as the tale of a neglected wife, and rushes to the end as a tacked-on feminist story.
At best Rebecca is a forgettable romance of a protagonist *SPOILER* who transforms from a naive young woman to an accomplice.
Rebecca is a tepid romance with lackluster mystery, bland characters, and no substantial reason to justify its existence.